A triumvirate of Williamses have asserted themselves into our rankings of the top running backs in the SEC as Rawleigh III, Trayveon and Stanley “Boom” find themselves occupying Nos. 3-5 on our ever-evolving list after Week 5 play in the conference.
Injuries are starting to take their toll as several big names, such as LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Georgia’s Nick Chubb slid in the rankings because of their respective ailments. The result is another shake-up that witnesses one player drop out of our top-10.
Nos. 1 and 10 remain the same, but in between is where things get fun.
10. KAMRYN PETTWAY, Auburn
Last week: DNP
Season: 336 yards, TD, 52 ATT, 6.5 YPC, 84.0 YPG
Last week’s rank: No. 10 (no change)
Why he’s here: Kamryn Pettway gets the ever-so-slight nod over Alabama’s Damien Harris, despite nearly identical numbers. Both running backs were limited in Week 5 with Pettway sitting out with a quad injury, while an ankle sprain limited Harris to 11 yards on 2 carries. In one fewer game than Harris, Pettway is averaging roughly 13 more yards per contest.
9. NICK CHUBB, Georgia
Last week: 3 yards, 1 ATT, 3.0 YPC
Season: 425 yards, 3 TDs, 84 ATT, 5.1 YPC, 85.0 YPG
Last week’s rank: No. 5 (-4)
Why he’s here: This could be Nick Chubb’s last week on the list if the Georgia tailback can’t get himself healthy for Week 6 and return to the form that saw him post 222 yards during the opening weekend of the season. Since that performance against North Carolina, Chubb has rushed for just 203 total yards — including just 3 yards on 1 carry in Week 5 against Tennessee. When healthy, he’s among the most dynamic running backs in the nation. But staying on the field is beginning to prove difficult.
8. DERRIUS GUICE, LSU
Last week: 163 yards, 3 TDs, 17 ATT, 9.6 YPC
Season: 402 yards, 4 TDs, 46 ATT, 8.7 YPC, 80.4 YPG
Last week’s rank: N/A
Why he’s here: LSU didn’t miss a beat out of its backfield in Week 5, despite the absence of star running back Leonard Fournette. That’s because Derrius Guice is making a serious argument to take over as the Tigers’ featured back. Guice posted a career-high 163 yards as LSU rolled Missouri with a dominating ground game led by the sophomore.
7. JALEN HURD, Tennessee
Last week: 42 yards, 10 ATT, 4.2 YPC, 50 rec. yards, rec. TD
Season: 407 yards, 2 TDs, 101 ATT, 4.0 YPC, 81.4 YPG
Last week’s rank: No. 8 (+1)
Why he’s here: Jalen Hurd had a whirlwind Week 5 against Georgia, missing most of the second half because of a lower extremity injury. When in the game, however, the junior made his impact felt — particularly in Tennessee’s passing attack where he hauled in a 19-yard touchdown pass. He lost out on another score, after fumbling on the goal line courtesy of a blindside hit by Bulldog cornerback Deandre Baker when the running back wasn’t paying attention. If he can limit those types of mistakes, he’ll begin climbing up this list further.
6. LEONARD FOURNETTE, LSU
Last week: DNP
Season: 386 yards, 2 TDs, 67 ATT, 5.8 YPC, 128.7 YPG
Last week’s rank: No. 2 (-4)
Why he’s here: Leonard Fournette took a tumble in the rankings this week, courtesy of an ankle injury that continues to nag the LSU junior. When healthy, however, Fournette is among the SEC’s best — evident by his 128.7 YPG average in the three contests he’s played in this year.
5. STANLEY “BOOM” WILLIAMS, Kentucky
Last week: 22 yards, 9 ATT, 2.4 YPC
Season: 486 yards, 2 TDs, 67 ATT, 7.3 YPC, 97.2 YPG
Last week’s rank: No. 3 (-2)
Why he’s here: Alabama held Stanley “Boom” Williams in check in Week 5, limiting the Kentucky junior to 22 yards on the ground. Despite his lowest rushing total since tallying 12 yards against Tennessee in 2015, Williams tops Leonard Fournette on this list with exactly 100 more yards than the LSU running back on the same amount of carries.
4. TRAYVEON WILLIAMS, Texas A&M
Last week: 98 yards, TD, 14 ATT, 7.0 YPC
Season: 487 yards, 4 TDs, 54 ATT, 9.1 YPC, 97.4 YPG
Last week’s rank: No. 6 (+2)
Why he’s here: Trayveon Williams made another case for the SEC’s Freshman of the Year award, after missing a third-consecutive 100-yard effort by just 2 yards in Week 5 against South Carolina. His 9.02 YPC is tops among all running backs in the conference, while ranking fourth overall in total yards — a remarkable feat when you consider Williams has roughly half as many carries as SEC-leader Ralph Webb.
3. RAWLEIGH WILLIAMS III, Arkansas
Last week: 126 yards, 13 ATT, 9.7 YPC
Season: 559 yards, 4 TDs, 101 ATT, 5.5 YPC, 111.8 YPG
Last week’s rank: No. 4 (+1)
Why he’s here: Rawleigh Williams III continues to impress. The sophomore’s 126 yards in Week 5 against Alcorn State now gives him an average of 111.8 YPG, which is good enough for second-best in the conference.
2. KERRYON JOHNSON, Auburn
Last week: 146 yards, 2 TDs, 24 ATT, 6.1 YPC
Season: 517 yards, 6 TDs, 102 ATT, 5.1 YPC, 103.4 YPG
Last week’s rank: No. 7 (+5)
Why he’s here: Kerryon Johnson’s second multiple touchdown game of his career vaulted the sophomore into the SEC lead with 6 rushing scores on the season. His 146-yard effort in Week 5 against Louisiana-Monroe also allowed Auburn to reclaim the conference’s overall team rushing lead.
1. RALPH WEBB, Vanderbilt
Last week: 110, 24 ATT, 4.6 YPC
Season: 582 yards, 5 TDs, 118 ATT, 4.9 YPC, 116.4 YPG
Last week’s rank: No. 1 (no change)
Why he’s here: Ralph Webb continues to be the premier running back in the SEC. The junior not only leads the SEC in yards and yards-per-game, but also sits atop the conference as its No. 1 workhorse with 118 carries on the year. The eighth 100-yard effort of Webb’s career was enough to leapfrog the junior past Frank Mordica for No. 2 on the Commodores’ all-time rushing list. Webb needs just 497 yards to supplant Zac Stacy as the best running back to burst out of the backfield in Nashville.
DROPPED OFF THE LIST
- Damien Harris, Alabama
KNOCKING ON THE DOOR (NEXT 10)
- Damien Harris, Alabama
- Akeem Judd, Ole Miss
- Jordan Scarlett, Florida
- Brian Herrien, Georgia
- A.J. Turner, South Carolina
- Ish Witter, Missouri
- Sony Michel, Georgia
- Brandon Holloway, Mississippi State
- Joshua Jacobs, Alabama
- Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky